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Two New Presidents for Baptist Health Hospitals

February 16, 2007

By Travis E. Poling, San Antonio Express-News

Feb. 16–Two hospitals of the Baptist Health System have new presidents at the helm.

San Antonio native Matt Stone was promoted from chief operating officer of Northeast Baptist Hospital to president.

And John “Jack” Cleary will move to San Antonio from Jackson, Miss., next week to head North Central Baptist.

Stone, a certified public accountant, joined the system in 2001 as a financial analyst after holding several other positions in the health care industry.

Despite his financial background, Stone said he found he enjoyed dealing with the doctors, patients and employees as much as he liked the analysis.

“It’s one of those things that you find out you’re pretty good at,” Stone said. “I was known as the accountant that would talk to you.” Stone, a graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio, worked in the restaurant and building industries before switching to health care. He worked at Christus Santa Rosa Health Corp. and health insurers Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas, PCA Health and Humana Health Plans of Texas.

Northeast Baptist now has 310 beds and 1,000 employees after a recently completed $80 million expansion. Stone replaces Bruce Buchanan, who left to head a hospital in Phoenix owned by Baptist parent company Vanguard Health Systems.

“The team (at Northeast Baptist) has really rallied around Matt,” said Baptist Health System CEO Trip Pilgrim. Doctors and employees “have all expressed their confidence in his knowledge, experience and leadership abilities.” Cleary starts his job at North Central Baptist in the Stone Oak area Monday.

Most recently, he served as president and CEO of the two-hospital River Oaks Health System in Jackson. Cleary also held positions with Singing River Hospital System in Gautier, Miss.

Cleary is a 26-year veteran of the Air Force, retiring as a colonel. As a Medical Services Corps officer, he made countless visits to San Antonio on Air Force business — to Randolph AFB and the former Brooks AFB. The offer to move here to work with Baptist, Cleary said, was an easy sell.

He said he wants to work with physicians to attract more patients to North Central Baptist, which recently underwent an $85 million expansion. Competitor Methodist Healthcare System is building a hospital in the same part of town.

Previous North Central Baptist President Dominic Dominguez left to go to Methodist Metropolitan Hospital downtown.

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Copyright (c) 2007, San Antonio Express-News

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